Markus Reneau, the International High School of New Orleans 2015 salutatorian, is the winner of the Grand Lodge of Elks’ 87th National Oratorical Contest, held Aug. 1 in Las Vegas. Former recipients of the Elks Oratorical Contest include Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Oprah Winfrey.
Reneau plans to attend Yale University this fall and major in African-American studies and philosophy. As a member of the International High School debate team, Reneau represented IHSNO at the 2015 NCFL national debate tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“We are so proud of Markus and his many accomplishments,” Head of School Sean Wilson said. “He is an example of how hard work, determination and courage can bring success. He is an exemplary young man and IHSNO is proud to call him an alumnus.”
Reneau received a $10,000 scholarship, plaque and certificate as the winner of the contest presented by the Elks Department of Education. The contest was held during the 116th Grand Lodge and 112th Grand Temple annual convention.
Reneau was the winner of the local contest held at St. James Methodist Church in New Orleans; at the state contest held in Baton Rouge; and at the regional contest held in Jackson, Tennessee. He represented Region 5, which included Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee, at the National Oratorical Contest in Las Vegas. The contestants compete statewide from districts of the Prince Hall Masonry of Louisiana and were sponsored by lodges throughout the state. WM Ralph Slaughter is the Grand Master for the Prince Hall Masons of Louisiana.
The contest was held by the Masons as Mentors Educational Program. Reneau represented District 1 and the Earle L. Bradford Lodge 267, located in New Orleans.